25 November 2023

Blueking D’Oroux takes Coral Hurdle prize

25 November 2023

Blueking D’Oroux demonstrated his class with a taking victory in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot.

The four-year-old was sent off at 4-1 in a field of five, most of whom carried with them more experience and higher ratings than Paul Nicholls’ runner.

Harry Cobden bided his time, only asking the winner to throw down a challenge over the second-last and finding him comfortably able to go on and take the Grade Two by a length from Strong Leader.

“Beforehand I was looking at it and I thought we definitely need a career best today, but it wasn’t the strongest ever renewal of this race so you had to fancy him a bit and when Paul Nicholls lays one out for a race, he doesn’t normally miss,” said the winning rider.

“It was a great piece of training from the trainer and I was always going half a stride faster than I wanted to be, but I think that was down to the ground. He feels to me like the further he goes the better he is. I was just delighted with the horse and once he got there (to the front) he toughed it out well.

“He’s had a wind op and the rest is history really, he hasn’t stopped winning since. He’s improved every run and he’s only a four-year-old and it’s hard for a four-year-old to win a race like this, he’s very tough.

“I’ve just been speaking to Johnny (de la Hey, owner) and is it the boldest statement in the world to have a crack at the Stayers’ Hurdle? It probably isn’t the strongest division we have ever seen and I know he will need to improve a lot, but he’s kept impressing us every run and in some respects surprising me, because I wouldn’t have said 12 months ago he would be coming here and winning this race.

“Where else do you go with him? Because he’s going to be too highly rated for a handicap now and I presume four-year-olds with a lot or weight in those good races at Cheltenham and Aintree have quite a poor record. Maybe it is a Stayers’ Hurdle or something on those lines. I’m not saying he’s going to go there and set the world alight and win, but you have got to go somewhere and he’s just a likeable horse and I like the way he goes about the job.”

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